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Objective

The cannabinoid-receptor system is involved in the regulation of food intake. Here, we test whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CNR2, encoding the cannabinoid-receptor 2, are associated with weight in a cross-sectional cohort. Furthermore, we wanted to investigate if the identified hits influence weight loss during lifestyle intervention; and study a potential involvement of cerebral insulin action.

Methods

2006 subjects at increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus were genotyped for 5 tagging SNPs in the CNR2 locus. All subjects underwent a 75-g OGTT. 345 subjects participated in a lifestyle intervention (TUebingen Lifestyle Intervention Programme). Cerebrocortical insulin sensitivity was measured by magnetoencephalography after intranasal insulin application in 43 subjects.

Results

In the cross-sectional cohort, the minor allele of rs3123554 was associated with lower BMI (Padd = 0.01, Prec = 0.004), and this was attributable to its effect in women only. Interestingly, during lifestyle intervention, carriers of the same allele lost less body weight (Padd = 0.03, Prec = 0.008). Moreover, carriers of this minor allele showed lower cerebral insulin sensitivity (Prec = 0.0402).

Conclusions

The minor allele of rs3123554 is associated cross-sectionally with lower body weight, whereas during intervention the same allele led to less reduction of body weight. Reduced cerebral insulin sensitivity in carriers of this allele might contribute to these disadvantageous effects during lifestyle intervention.